Thiruvananthapuram: As part of the 2021 agreement between the various partners of the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front ( LDF), two Ministers in the Pinarayi Vijayan government have quit and their replacements would be sworn in on Friday.
The two ministers — Antony Raju and Ahamed Devarkovil — resigned on Sunday
In May 2021, when the second Pinarayi Vijayan government took office, there was an in-principle decision to share cabinet posts among the parties having single MLAs.
Under that formula, Antony Raju was given the Transport portfolio and Ahamed Devarkovil took over the Ports department and both on Sunday submitted their resignations to Chief Minister Vijayan.
As per the agreement, after the completion of 30 months in office, the two ministers had to make way for film actor-turned-politician K.B. Ganesh Kumar (to replace Raju) and veteran Kadanapally Ramachandran ( to replace Devarkovil).
But speculation is rife that there might be a reshuffle of the portfolios of existing ministers, especially the CPI(M), but that is being held as a closely guarded secret and it will be decided by none other than CM Vijayan, who is the final word not just in the government but also party and the LDF.
The talk of the rejig arose after Ganesh Kumar, who shifted his loyalty from the Congress-led UDF to the LDF ahead of the 2016 Assembly polls, had said that he did not want the Transport portfolio.
Ganesh Kumar as a Minister in the 2001 A.K. Antony government handled Transport, and according to sources he has expressed his desire that if possible he would like to get a different portfolio, as the state run Transport Department is having a hand to mouth existence, with salaries and pensions never paid on time.
Kumar, 57, has been a legislator since 2001. He was a minister in the cabinet of Antony in 2001, but made way for his father after a few years. Then again in the Oommen Chandy cabinet in 2016 and following a domestic issue with his then wife, Kumar quit and since had been upset with the Congress-led UDF. Finally, he along with his father moved their party — Kerala Congress(B) — to the Left fold.
Now Vijayan has to take the final call on the change in portfolios.
The Congress-led opposition has already announced that they will boycott the swearing in as Ganesh Kumar was largely instrumental in attacking the then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the Solar scam case (2014) and in which Ganesh Kumar is facing a case filed by a Congress worker close to Late Chandy.